xavier de soultrait franco caimi yamaha dakar rally 1200

Photo Credit: Yamaha Racing

Frenchman Xavier De Soultrait and Franco Caimi have signed with Yamaha to be part of their four-man team for Dakar Rally 2018.

Top rookie of the 2017 Dakar Rally, Caimi from Argentina placed eighth overall.

“There are no words to thank Yamaha for giving me the opportunity to join their official team,” told Caimi. “The feeling has been great ever since I got on the WR450F Rally machine. Switching from enduro to rally racing almost two years ago I immediately felt it was the right thing to do, so joining the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team is a huge step in my career.”

One of the strongest Yamaha riders during the early stages of the rally, privateer De Soultrait was fastest on the opening stage and consistently placed inside the top five until running into trouble mid way. Now part of the official Yamaha he’s looking forward to better his result of 13th from Dakar 2016.

“Being part of the Yamaha family for a long time, it feels great to be part of the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team,” said De Soultrait. “Everything is so well organised and from our part we only have to worry about our performance in the stages. 

“We've started testing the latest version of the WR450F Rally couple of weeks ago and I was immediately impressed by its overall performance. Compared to the mostly standard bike I raced in this year's Dakar, there is more power, better braking performance and loads of extra top speed. It's a great package, which we want to make even better for the upcoming Dakar.”


xavier de soultrait franco caimi yamaha dakar rally 0051

Photo Credit: Yamaha Racing

The duo make their start as factory Yamaha riders in this week’s Afriquia Merzouga Rally. 

“We are happy to announce that Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi will be the factory riders alongside Adrien Van Beveren and Rodney Faggotter,” said the Yamaha boss José Leloir, 

“We are at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally for the fifth time as it’s a great training ground and nice competition for the riders and the machines."